The Beijing Library, located within Pei Hai Park, is home to the history collections of China's National Library, including material from imperial libraries dating back to the Sung, Ming, and Ch'ing dynasties. The collections include ancient books and manuscripts, maps, and rubbings from historic inscriptions. Since the late 1980s, the library's modern holdings have been housed in a new building at the western edge of the city.
Beijing's largest collection of artistic treasures—including stone and ivory carvings, enamel work, metal work, embroidery, and porcelain—is housed in the Palace Museum, located within the Imperial Palace. The original decor of many of the rooms has been preserved, constituting an additional artistic and historic attraction.
The artifacts in the Museum of Chinese History, located adjacent to Tiananmen Square, chart the progress of Chinese history over the past 4,000 years, from its ancient civilizations through its dynastic periods. Its collection includes thousands of artworks, relics, and scientific inventions. Located in one of its wings is the Museum of the Chinese Revolution, which traces the history of the Chinese Communist Party from its origins through the revolutionary and civil war periods leading up to 1949.
The China National Art Gallery displays traditional calligraphy and water-colors, as well as temporary exhibits of works by contemporary Chinese artists. Beijing also has museums devoted to military history, imperial archives, and natural history, as well as the China's first planetarium, with an adjacent observatory and meteorological station. The former residence of acclaimed author Lu Xun (1881–1936) has been turned into a museum, displaying photographs and documents related to his life.